Biometrics

Biometrics is the science and technology of measuring and analysing biological data. In information technology, biometrics refers to technologies that measure and analyze human body characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice patterns, facial patterns and hand measurements, for authentication purposes.

Authentication by biometric verification is becoming increasingly common in corporate and public security systems, consumer electronics and point of sale (POS) applications. In addition to security, the driving force behind biometric verification has been convenience.

Biometric devices, consist of:

  • A reader or scanning device.
  • Software that converts the scanned information into digital form and compares match points.
  • A database that stores the biometric data for comparison

To prevent identity theft, biometric data is usually encrypted when it's gathered. Here's how biometric verification works on the back end: To convert the biometric input, a software application is used to identify specific points of data as match points. The match points in the database are processed using an algorithm that translates that information into a numeric value. The database value is compared with the biometric input the end user has entered into the scanner and authentication is either approved or denied.

Biometric verification is any means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits. Unique identifiers include fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves, DNA, and signatures. The oldest form of biometric verification is fingerprinting. Historians have found examples of thumbprints being used as a means of unique identification on clay seals in ancient China. Biometric verification has advanced considerably with the advent of computerized databases and the digitization of analog data, allowing for almost instantaneous personal identification.

Iris-pattern and retina-pattern authentication methods are already employed in some bank automatic teller machines. Voice waveform recognition, a method of verification that has been used for many years with tape recordings in telephone wiretaps, is now being used for access to proprietary databanks in research facilities. Facial-recognition technology has been used by law enforcement to pick out individuals in large crowds with considerable reliability. Hand geometry is being used in industry to provide physical access to buildings.

Earlobe geometry has been used to disprove the identity of individuals who claim to be someone they are not (identity theft). Signature comparison is not as reliable, all by itself, as the other biometric verification methods but offers an extra layer of verification when used in conjunction with one or more other methods.

No matter what biometric methodology is used, the identification verification process remains the same. A record of a person's unique characteristic is captured and kept in a database. Later on, when identification verification is required, a new record is captured and compared with the previous record in the database. If the data in the new record matches that in the database record, the person's identity is confirmed.

The word biometrics comes from the Greek words bio and metric, meaning ``life measurement''. By measuring something unique about an individual and using that to identify them, we can achieve a dramatic improvement in security of the key store. Newer biometric measurements include DNA from tissue samples, voice pattern, face pattern or even the arrangement of blood vessels in the retina or pattern of coloration in the cornea of the eye. The oldest and most widely accepted biometric is the fingerprint. The tip of every finger has a characteristic called ``friction ridges''. While generally similar, no two friction ridges are exactly the same. By imaging the ridges of the fingertips, we get the fingerprint.

Biometrics are automated methods of identifying a person based on physiological or behavioral characteristics.

They include fingerprint and facial recognition, hand and finger geometry, voice patterns and other techniques. All of the products we provide use fingerprint recognition to identify authorized users.

Fingerprint recognition is one of the most safe and secure methods of access control to date. Passwords and PIN numbers can be forgotten, keys and swipe cards can be lost or stolen, your fingerprint however is always with you and is unique.

Security breaches and acts of terrorism are becoming ever more dominant within the news, security is becoming an increasingly important issue on international, national and local levels. Recent developments in biometric technology has allowed ICON Biometrics to develop a portfolio of cutting edge products offering solutions to real world high security problems.

Fingerprint recognition is becoming widely adopted by large institutions and individuals who are now benefiting from the security and convenience our products offer.

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